A funeral service held for Lester Vaele's son Tee (Torres) last week.
A funeral service held for Lester Vaele's son Tee (Torres) last week.

Heartbreaking: Man robbed while attending son’s funeral

A HEARTLESS robbery of a Cairns youth worker's home while attending the funeral of his foster son in Ingham has tested the Mooroobool resident's faith in humanity.

Lester Vaele with his wife and two daughters left for St Teresa's Catholic College in Abergowrie to send off Tee (Torres) Weka, who was killed in a single-vehicle crash near Ingham last month.

Tee Weka, affectionately known as Torres and of Papua New Guinean ethnicity, was killed in a single-vehicle crash near Ingham last month.
Tee Weka, affectionately known as Torres and of Papua New Guinean ethnicity, was killed in a single-vehicle crash near Ingham last month.

They were in good spirits on the drive back to Cairns after the service, until arriving home.

"We came in and the whole place was ransacked. The door was open at the back and they took most of the girls' stuff. Both my daughter's lockets and my wife's ring," he said.

"We were just coping with one thing and my wife going through stage three cancer. It's just one thing after another."

Mr Vaele said he believed thieves targeted the house, knowing no one was home.

"We knew straight away, after all the work we have done with community, the first thing that comes to mind it's someone who knows us and knew where we were going," he said.

Mourners gather to celebrate the life of Tee (Torres) Weka killed in a car crash near Ingham last month.
Mourners gather to celebrate the life of Tee (Torres) Weka killed in a car crash near Ingham last month.

Mr Vaele said neighbours reported two cars "full of girls" arrived at the house the night the family left.

"And they could hear them laughing - that was the only clue that we had," he said.

A devout Christian, Mr Vaele said the break-in had him questioning whether people were inherently good.

"Who would do such a thing at this time? Your wife is going through chemo/cancer and you are mourning for Torres' funeral," he said.

"We felt good when we were coming back even though we were sad. The whole family was just ­shocked."

Mr Vaele said no report had been made to police as items taken did not have serial numbers and no security vision of the break-in was recorded.

However he is now reconsidering the decision to not inform the authorities.

Originally published as Heartbreaking: Man robbed while attending son's funeral



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